Scottish Highland Cattle -  header image

The Show and Sale Ring

Almost from the outset, the Achnacloich Cattle were to be shown not only locally, but also exhibited nationally at the Highland and Agricultural Society’s Annual Shows. It was at the 1905 Highland Show, held in Glasgow, that the Nelsons gained commended with their recently purchased stock bull, Malachie (1870). Bred by the Earl of Southesk, Malachie, son of the highly regarded Calum Riabhach 2nd of Atholl (1325), was 1st in his class at Oban Bull Sale the previous year. Malachie’s sons were shown regularly in the yearling classes at the Highland Show, Ceatharnach of Achnacloich (2122) won 4th Prize at the Peebles Show in 1906. The following year, An-Seanalair Ruadh of Achnacloich (2235) stood 2nd in the yearling class at the Highland Show in Edinburgh his Dam, Riabhach (6488) was one of the foundation cows bred in Ardanaiseig. This bull went on to further Highland Show success in 1908 standing 2nd in the two-year-old class, and also taking 2nd Prize the following year in the senior bull class. During the early years the showing success was with bulls both homebred and stock bulls.

Calum Riabhach 2nd of Atholl (1325)

Calum Riabhach 2nd of Atholl (1325) – Sire of the first stock bull Malachie (1870)

An-Seanalair Ruadh went on to further success at the Stirling Highland Show of 1909 standing 2nd in the senior bull class and the recently purchased Seanalair 3rd of Melford (2498) took 4th Prize in the yearling section.  The following year, he was successful at the Dumfries Highland Show and gained 4th place in the two-year old class.  The Achnacloich Cattle travelled North to Inverness in 1911 where the homebred bull Rona 2nd of Achnacloich won 4th prize in the two-year old class.  It was then South to Hawick in 1914 with the stock bull Douglas (2557) bred by the Earl of Southesk, where he stood 2nd.  Their homebred yearling bull An-Cheard Ruadh (2636) also gained 2nd Prize.

The records show Highland heifers from Achnacloich averaging just over £18 in 1912 and rising to £25 by 1916.

After the death in action in 1917 of the Fold founder Mr Thomas. A. Nelson, the Estate passed to his widow.  The same level of success was to continue through the early 1920’s, with such bulls as the homebred Culnadalloch Major, plus the highly regarded stock bull Royal Ernest (3252) bred by Miss Hall of Tangy, Kintyre.

It was to be a son of the Royal Ernest, Culnadalloch 2nd of Achnacloich (3441), which brought the Fold their first Highland Show Championship win. He was placed Male Champion at the Aberdeen Show of 1928 and he won the top accolade at the Alloa Highland Show in 1929.  It was also at this time that the Fold began to feature strongly at the Society Sales in Oban.

Other bulls were also featured on the Prize lists with Marquis of Achnacloich 3rd in the two-year old class and Fiuran of Achnacloich 2nd in the yearling class of the Bull Sale 1922 and Culandalloch General placed 2nd in the Senior class the following year in 1923.  Two years later Douglas V of Achnacloich lifted the red ticket in the yearling section.

Beauty of Achnacloich was awarded Reserve Champion at the October Sale of 1931 sold for 47gns to become part of the foundation of the once famous Islay House Fold.

The Bull Sale of 1932 was to be an eventful one for the Fold, securing their first ever Championship win with their senior yearling, Ossian of Achnacloich (3672), a son of Ossian of Southesk (3566) and out of the good breeding Capleadh X of Achnacloich. A first Prize was also gained in the senior bull class with Cullandalloch 3rd (3597) and in the junior yearling section with Valentine 2nd (3673). Unfortunately their Show success that day was not to be reflected in the sale ring. Their Champion was to return home unsold at 20gns. Cuailean XVI of Achnacloich (10558) was to bring the Fold a Reserve Championship at the October Sale of the same year, selling at 38gns to Mr Walker of Leys Castle, who was in the process of establishing his Fold. The showing success in the sale ring was to be reflected in no small measure in the Highland Show ring in Inverness that same year. The results were as follows:

  • Two-year old bull - Culnadalloch A'Rithist (3638), 2nd Prize 
  • Yearling bulls - Anchatharnach (3639), 3rd Prize
  • Yearling bull  - Ossian (3672), 4th Prize
  • Cow - Lady Bhuidhe of Achnacloich (10388), 3rd Prize
  • Three -year old heifer - Maireared VI of Achnacloich (10390), 1st Prize
  • Two-year old heifer  - Dossan X of Achnacloich (10550), 3rd Prize
  • One-year old heifer - Sweetheart of Achnacloich (10392), 1st Prize and Reserve Female Champion. 

The following year at the Dundee Highland Show in 1933, Sweetheart was to secure the Supreme Championship Award, this two-year old heifer was sired by their previous Highland Show Champion of 1928, Culnadalloch 2nd of Achnacloich (3441) and out of Maireared V of Achnacloich (10389).  This was to prove to be their best ever-Highland Show. The results were as follows:

  • Senior bull class – Ossian V of Southesk (3566), 3rd Prize
  • One-year old bull – Culnadalloch V (3706), 2nd Prize
  • Cow – Capleadh IX of Achnacloich (10150), 1st Prize
  • Three-year old heifer – Capleadh XIII of Achnacloich (10602), 3rd Prize
  • Two-year Old heifer – Sweetheart (10392), 1st Prize
  • Two-year old heifer - Cuailean XVIII (10604), 4th Prize
  • One-year old heifer – Capleadh XIV (10601), 2nd Prize
  • One-year old heifer - Mairi IX (10600), Highly Commended
Ossian Ban of Atholl (3176)

Ossian Ban of Atholl (3176) – Sire of the stock bull Ossian V of Southesk (3566)

The Cuailean family was to feature well at the October Sales of 1932 and 1933, being Reserve Champion on both occasions with Cuailean XVI (10558) and Cuailean XVIII of Achnacloich (10604).  It is interesting to note that during the early 1930’s, pedigree numbers at Society sales were at an all time low.  The October Sale of 1933 could only muster twelve Cattle in total, with only nine sold to average just over £25.  The vast majority of purebred Cattle at that time were going through the commercial sale ring for crossing purposes.  It was the three-year old bull, Culnadalloch V of Achnacloich (3706), which brought to the Fold another Championship win in the Spring of 1935 but commanding only 35gns.  This was to prove to be a real bargain for his new owner, Mr J. A. Fletcher of Laudale, Ardgour, where he bred very well.  Two other entries from the Fold were to compete for the top Prize that day, the 2nd Prize two–year old Lathurnach of Achnacloich (3751) sold for 45gns to Mr Leonard Collingridge of Tenga, Isle of Mull, while Mr Lowes paid the same money for the one–year old bull Culnadalloch VII for his newly formed Glenfalloch Fold, at Ardluie.

It was at the Oban Spring Sale of 1945 that Mr T. E. Nelson was to make one of his most astute purchases, when for the modest sum of 100gns, he bought the unplaced bull, Calum Seoladair of Smaull (4245) from Messrs A & W MacKenchran.  His Sire was Fear Diona Ile (4023), Champion at the Highland Show in 1939 and a son of Cailean–A-Ghlinn of Achnacloich (3810), whose mother was one of the well-known Capleadh’s.

By the end of the War the demand for hill Cattle was rising and good prices were to be had in the commercial ring for unregistered females, Achnacloich receiving  £48 each for a pen of 4 two-year old heifers.  The Right Hon. Lord Tent’s 1946 Champion Bull, Coirneil Og of Mingary (4337), was to be the next stock bull purchased for 200gns for use in the Fold. At the October Sale of 1947, Sobhrach Og 3rd  of Achnacloich (12600) was described by the ringside as being one of the finest heifers to come out of the Fold and sold to Mr Walker of Foreland, Islay for 115gns.  The following year at the Oban October Sale, he bought the highly regarded Dossan Og 2nd (12430) who won 1st Prize two-year old heifer, sired by Calum Seoladair of Smaull (4245).

Oban Bull Sale 1948

Oban Bull Sale 1948
Achnacloich at the top of the line with the Judges Mr Cameron Glenfinlas and Mr McKechnie in action.

One of the highlights in the Fold’s long history was achieved in the Spring of 1948, when the Champion yearling bull, Uallach of Achnacloich (4475), sold for the record price of 800gns to Mr William Walker of Foreland. This Sale will go down in the history of the Highland Breed, not only for the record price paid, but also for the quality of the bulls on offer.

Uallach of Achnacloich (4475)

Uallach of Achnacloich (4475)

The sale report went as follows:

“The day was fine and a large crowd witnessed the judging and subsequent sale.  Mr John A. Cameron, Glenfinlas, Callander and Mr Archibald McKechnie, Craighouse, Isle of Jura, had the onerous task of judging.  Both gentlemen are astute breeders of Highlanders and their placings gave every satisfaction.”

It went on to state “the two-year olds were a strong class and included many good breeders bulls.  The first record was made by the 2nd Prize winner in the two–year old class, the grand red Alasdair Ruadh (4447) from Douglas and Angus Estate sold to Mr Walker, Foreland for 450gns.  The 5th Prize winner, Major Morrison’s Iain Molach Ile (4414) was described as “a stylish big light brindle bull sold for 400gns to Mrs Oakes, Skipness Castle, Kintyre.” 

The sale report continued “Thus the junior stirks provided some of the very best animals on parade, the leader from Mr T. E. Nelson’s Fold at Achnacloich was Uallach of Achnacloich (4475), a most beautiful red, and one of the best bulls seen in Oban for many a day, being practically faultless.  After keen competition, Mr Walker of Foreland became the owner at the record price of 800gns, Lord Glentanner being the runner up.  Uallach went on to win the Championship at the Highland and the Royal Show for Mr Walker.  Mr Nelson’s second Prize winner was purchased by Mr J. P. Dalgleish of Barbreck at 150gns and Mr Nelson’s other stirk went to Lord Glentanner at 180gns.” 

The report ended “Altogether it was a satisfactory sale and ably conducted by Mr Robert Mair of Messrs Thos Corson & Co Ltd.”

The following Spring, the Reserve Champion was secured by Muillear of Achnacloich (4570), selling for 160gns to Mr E. Lowes of Glenfalloch.

Muiller of Achnacloich (4570)

Muillear of Achnacloich (4570) - Reserve Champion at Oban Bull Sale 1949

At the October Sale that year, the 3rd Prize three–year old heifer, Noinean Dhonn V of Achnacloich (12435) made 210gns, yet another outstanding daughter of Calum Seoladair. By this time the number of purebred Cattle at the October Sales in Oban, had reached almost five hundred. By 1951, the demand for good Highland pedigree stock was such that the Highland Cattle Society decided to hold a Show and Sale of females in conjunction with its February Bull Sale. It was also considered that a two-day event would now be more suitable. At the Society’s AGM, prior to the Sale, Mr T.E. Nelson was elected President of the Highland Cattle Society. He had the distinction at the Sale of creating a new breed record for females with his 1st Prize, two–year old heifer, Dossan Ruadh 4th of Achnacloich (13499), which sold for 650gns to Lady MacRobert of Douneside, Tarland. Dossan Ruadh IV was Sired by Calum Seoladair of Smaull, which had also Sired the record price bull, Uallach three years earlier. The Achnacloich Fold had now earned the double distinction of the record price male and female by the same Sire. Both records were to stand for many years. Later in the year, Lady MacRobert was to add yet another Achnacloich heifer to her new Douneside Fold when purchasing the Reserve Champion, Noinean Og IX for 300gns. The Bull Sale Champion of 1953 Coirneil Ruadh of Mingary (4771) was purchased for 475gns and became Achnacloich’s new stock bull. He was Sired by Coirneil of Mingary (4233), who had also Sired their previous Mingary-bred bull Coirneil Og (4337). Coirneil Ruadh was described in the press as a handsome Champion with a good top, depth and breadth in front, but not so full in the hindquarters.

Coirneil Ruadh of Mingary (4771)

Coirneil Ruadh of Mingary (4771)

Over the years, every opportunity had been taken to further improve the quality of the Fold, not only with the purchase of stock bulls but also by carefully selected females, which would further add genetic diversity such as Cannach Buidhe 2nd of Glenfalloch (13512), bought at the October Sale in Oban in 1952. This line traces back to the long established Killilan Fold. Also bought that day was Bhean-A-Bhalie of Balliemore (13750), bred by Mr Malcolm Tyson and Ellit Buidhe 2nd of Barbreck, bred by James P. Dalgleish.

The Bull Sale of 1953 saw the start of the now well-known Malda family in the Achnacloich Fold with the purchase of Malda Bhoidheach (12029) bred by Sir Thomas Ainsworth Baronet of Ardanaiseig. This particular family traces back to Duchess Cora of Balliemore (10917). This very successful line, bred by Mr Malcolm Tyson, also provided much success for the well-known Cladich Fold situated on the opposite side of Loch Awe.

Oban Spring Sale 1956

Oban Spring Sale 1956
Mr & Mrs T.E. Nelson in conversation with Major Sir Charles MacLean, Baronet of Duart (left)

During the 1950’s, showing was confined to local events, such as Lorn and Dalmally, where they secured the Championship at this event in 1954 with Dosan Bheg V of Achnacloich (14110).  The good black Proiseag Dubh line was maintained in the Fold with the use of a homebred son of Coirneil Ruadh, Prionnsa Dubh 2nd of Achnacloich (5335). He was used in the Fold for two years and was then sold for 100gns to help preserve the black bloodline on the Isle of Canna.  In 1958, a further Oban Sale Champion was added to the Fold with the purchase of MacIain of Barbreck (5522), bred by P & R Dalgleish, Barbreck, Lochgilphead, and Sired by the outstanding Oban Bull Sale Champion of 1955, John of Severie (5285).  Another Coirneil Ruadh’s son, Baran Ruadh IV of Achnacloich (5648), was Reserve Champion at the Bull Sale of 1960 and this junior bull stirk sold to the Douneside Fold for 390gns.

There was to be a triumphant return to the Royal Highland Show in the summer 1961, when Duncan MacNab paraded the outstanding cow Princess Ealasaid 6th of Achnacloich (17575) to her Champion position. A daughter of Coirneil Ruadh and out of Princess Ealasaid 4th, this cow was the perfect example of blending the best with the best, with Achnacloich bloodlines to the fore i.e. An-Ceatharnach of Achnacloich (3639) G.G.S. of Coirneil Ruadh and Cailean-A-Ghlinn of Achnacloich (3810) G.G.S. of Princess Ealasaid 4th and the influence of the outstanding stock bull born in 1934, Prionnsa Buidhe 2nd of Kilchamaig (3795) blended within.

Dosan Bheg V of Achnacloich (14110)

Dosan Bheg V of Achnacloich (14110) – Champion Dalmally Show 1954

The highly respected Farm Manager, Duncan MacNab was to make his final Bull Sale appearance in charge of the Fold, at the Oban Bull Sale of 1962.

And it was only fitting to see the Championship awarded to the 1st Prize yearling bull, Diarmid of Achnacloich (5759), a son of MacIain of Barbreck (5522), and out of Princess Ealasaid 4th (14719).  He went to Major John G. Morrison of Islay, for his Islay House Fold, for the bargain price of 180gns.  Their 2nd Prize yearling, Fhionn of Achnacloich, went to the Scone Palace Fold, while the 3rd Prize MacIain Dubh went to the judge, Mr W. Pearson Brown.  The Fold also won that day, the MacLean of Duart Silver Salver for the ‘Best Yearling Heifer’, Sobhrach Og XXVIII of Achnacloich.

It was to be March 1965 before the Fold was to win another Championship Award at the Oban Sales. On this occasion, it was with the three–year old heifer, Dosan Og 12th of Achnacloich (20767).  This daughter of MacIain sold to Mrs R. D. Trotter, Brin House, Strathnairn, for 92gns. Dosan Og 22nd of Achnacloich (2204) lifted the Supreme Award at the October Sale of 1969; she was a daughter of MacIain and out of Dosan Og 7th of Achnacloich (18173) and sold to the Ardnamurachan Estate for 180gns.

Diarmid of Achnacloich (5759

Diarmid of Achnacloich (5759) Champion Oban Bull Sale 1962

MacIain of Barbreck (5522)

MacIain of Barbreck (5522)

Dosan Og 12th of Achnacloich (20767)

Dosan Og 12th of Achnacloich (20767)

Dosan Og 22nd of Achnacloich (22047)

Dosan Og 22nd of Achnacloich (22047)

Note: This article is © Copyright of Angus R. Mackay. It has been reproduced with his permission.
All the information on this website is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on our website is strictly at your own risk. and we will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the use of our website.

From our website, you can visit other websites by following hyperlinks to these sites. While we strive to provide only links to useful and ethical websites, we have no control over the content and nature of these sites and the links to other websites do not imply a recommendation for all the content found on these sites.